Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is one game away from adding to the history of major league baseball’s Triple Crown. With the Tigers up 3-0 over the New York Yankees in their AL Championship Series, Cabrera is about to continue a string of AL Triple Crown winners who led their teams to the World Series.
If Detroit goes on to defeat the Yankees, Cabrera will join Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson and Carl Yastrzemski to make it four straight Triple Crown pennant winners. This is a string that goes back 56 years to 1956.
That season Mantle led the Yankees to the World Series. Along the way he led the AL by batting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 runs batted in. New York won the pennant by nine games over the Cleveland Indians. In the series, Mantle batted .250 with three home runs. His biggest hit was a solo home run in game six which helped Yankees pitcher Don Larsen win his famous perfect game. New York defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers four games to three.
In 1966 Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles won the Triple Crown by batting .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBI. The Orioles won the pennant by nine games over the Minnesota Twins. In the World Series he batted .286 with two home runs. Robinson scored the first and last runs of the series with home runs and led Baltimore to a four game sweep over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The next season, 1967, Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox became the last man before Cabrera to win a Triple Crown. He led the AL with a .326 average, 44 home runs and 121 RBI. Boston won the pennant on the last day by one game over Detroit and Minnesota. In the series Yaz hit .400 with three home runs. The Red Sox lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.
This season Cabrera led the AL with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. The Tigers won the AL Central and advanced to post season play. Cabrera is the first Triple Crown winner since championship and divisional series play were added to the post season in 1969. Instead of going straight to the World Series after the regular season like Mantle, Robinson and Yastrszemski, he will have to win two playoff series to advance to the World Series.
Detroit has already beaten the Oakland Athletics in the AL Divisional Series. Cabrera batted .250 in that five game set. The Tigers are currently up 3-0 on New York and can clinch with one more victory. Cabrera helped get them one game closer with an RBI single in game three that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory.
Needing to win one game out of four, Detroit seems a lock to make it to the World Series.
If they do Cabrera will join the last three AL Triple Crown winners by leading his team to a pennant.